The Federal Government has asked states still foot dragging on domestication of the Child Rights Act (CRA) to immediately go about it in order to curtail the harmful practice of early marriage of the girl child.
The Minister of Women’s Affair, Pauline Tallen, made the the call yesterday in Abuja during the review of the National Strategy to End Child Marriage in Nigeria, organized by the Ford Foundation in Collaboration with the Development Research and Projects Centre, (DRPC), the National Coalition of Civil Society to End Child Marriage in Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
She said the domestication and full implementation of the CRA will make it an offence for any girl or boy to be married off before the age of 18 hence giving the child enough time to complete at least senior secondary school, be psychologically stable and physically matured.
The Minister said “accelerating an end to early child marriage in Nigeria is the responsibility of all stakeholders in order to protect the future of every child in the country.”
She also noted that: “The national strategy to end child marriage is a multi-structural strategy against child marriage that will be set in motion as a roadmap on the commitment of government and stakeholders.”
Director of Programmes, DRPC, Dr. Stanley Ukpai, while stressing the importance of strategy to meeting set goals and targets, said his organisation would contribute in the area of building the capacity of civil society organisations to enable them deliver on set targets.
He said: “Over the course of implementing this strategy, we need to strengthen the networking capacity of civil societies on working to end child marriage in Nigeria and Gender Based Violence, (GBV).”
Also speaking, co-chair of the coalition of CSOs, Kolawole Olatusimi, said there is need for change in the way some culture view child marriage in Nigeria. He said “negative socioeconomic and cultural norms that promote child marriage in societies need to change.”